Embracing Water in a Delta City

The Gentilly Resilience District seeks to reduce flood risk, slow land subsidence, improve public health, and create jobs in a fl ood-prone, mixed-income area of New Orleans.

New Orleans’ Gentilly Resilience District seeks to manage complex drainage and land issues by embracing the tide and creating spaces to capture rainwater in a mixed-income neighborhood prone to fl ooding. A suite of urban water management projects will address crumbling streets, overburdened drainage systems, and sinking soils by adapting the city’s streets, parks, schoolyards, open lots, as well as residents’ properties with green infrastructure. The projects are designed to reduce risk from flooding and subsidence while beautifying neighborhoods, improving public health, and providing recreational opportunities.
The city plans to train unemployed individuals to build projects in the resilience district and develop increasingly vital skills in water infrastructure management. This approach connects physical resilience with social resilience, focusing on reducing risk to the city’s most vulnerable landscapes and populations.

Relevance of solution

In New Orleans, risks of land subsidence and fl ooding disproportionately impact low-lying, lower-income areas like Gentilly. Making this burden worse, coastal Louisiana is experiencing the highest rate of relative sea level rise in the world, predicted at 1.3 meters by 2100.1 The Gentilly Resilience District aims to mitigate these environmental and social challenges by reshaping the landscape and lowering unemployment.

Triple Bottom Line


The project aims to eliminate damage from a five-year flooding event, reduce land subsidence, improve water quality, and reduce the urban heat island effect.


The Gentilly Resilience District will provide job training in water management for unemployed residents, including African American men, 52% of whom in New Orleans are unemployed.2


A cost benefit analysis conducted by the City indicates that each dollar invested in the project results in more than one dollar of estimated benefits.


  1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2013.)
  2. Sams-Abiodun, P and Rattler, Jr., G. “Recognizing the Underutilized Economic Potential of Black Men in New Orleans.” (2013.)